How well is the metaverse known in retail, and what potential benefits does it offer? Is it relevant enough to invest in? And if so, when?
The EHI Retail Institute asked retail decision-makers these and other questions in the run-up to the forthcoming EuroShop 2023 trade fair, taking place in Düsseldorf from 26 February to 2 March.
The EHI Retail Institute's survey saw 433 decision makers take part from across the German-speaking retail sector, with the majority stating that while the term 'metaverse' is largely known, knowledge is still lacking among retailers.
Six in 10 of those polled believe the metaverse will assert itself in the years to come, two in ten consider it a 'hype', while others are still unsure about how it will develop, the study found.
An Exciting Future
Some 75.5% of the participants in the panel see exciting applications for retail in the metaverse. The results of the study also imply that the majority of retailers believe they have to prepare for changes on account of metaverse developments.
However, these changes may still be a long time coming – retailers surveyed predominantly assume this topic will only gain in importance for retail companies in five to ten years from now.
Such an external assessment may serve as an indicator – after all, it is a core task of retailers to know their target groups. How acceptance will actually develop at the end of the day should be observed by consumer behaviour.
Challenges And Complexity
Retailers polled feel the metaverse also harbours dangers – anticipating that there might be a power shift between retailers and manufacturers, or retailers and metaverse providers. Complexity, expenses and dependencies could increase. Entering the metaverse business might be associated with high – and high-risk – investment.
According to those retailers polled, the profitability of metaverse applications – as well as in-house resistance – are seen as the largest obstacles to embracing this channel. Besides this, there is also uncertainty about future developments, about the suitability of their ranges, about cannibalisation effects and about security issues.
Those interviewed also confirmed that the metaverse seems to be a cross-departmental theme that touches upon plenty of different retail aspects. So, the main challenge for service providers is to decide which aspects to focus on – just under 5% of those polled believe their companies have sufficient staff with the relevant expertise to start a metaverse business.
In addition, just 4% think their retail company is already likely to invest in metaverse applications today; in two years’ time 12% think this is likely to happen, in five years this figure increases to 23%, and in 10 years to 46%.
Over the coming years, it is assumed retailers will approach the metaverse with isolated pilot projects. A further outlook on this will be provided at EuroShop 2023 in the Retail Technology Dimension, while the metaverse will also be discussed in lectures hosted at the Connected Retail Stage.
EuroShop is open to trade visitors from Sunday, 26 February to Thursday, 2 March 2023, daily from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm. For more information visit www.euroshop-tradefair.com.
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